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Kentucky salon shuttered by coronavirus gets second chance with Aveda relief program

Salon owner says shutting company doors, furloughing employees is a 'horrible feeling'

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Salon and spa owners across America have been confronted with economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered thousands of businesses and led to a surge in unemployment.

Kelli Campbell is one of the thousands facing tough decisions and uncertainty of what’s to come when the doors to her Louisville, Kentucky, salon and spa finally reopen.

Campbell, who owns Joseph’s Salon and Spa, was forced to close and furlough all 90 employees last month after Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear required all nonessential businesses to suspend operations (the state will allow salons and spas to reopen on May 25). For her, closing the business, which has been a part of the local community for nearly five decades, is like shutting out family.

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“People have come to me for things, years and years now, and for me to not be there for my employees … it’s a horrible feeling,” she said.

Campbell bought the company from her father 25 years ago after he became ill and business started to sink. Since then, Campbell has tripled the size of the salon and hired more than 80 employees.

Joseph's Salon and Spa in Louisville, KY.

To save the business, Campbell said she’s focusing most on becoming financially stable, which will prepare her to reopen and rehire. With a little help from hair care and beauty brand Aveda, a company that Joseph’s has partnered with for 30 years, Campbell believes she may be able to do just that.

“I want to be somewhat financially solid, so we can hire our staff back, so we can have all the particular protective gear we need, so we can pay our rent,” she said. “That’s our primary goal right now, it’s very ‘survival mode.’ I never thought I’d be in that position.”

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Campbell said she’s already receiving “tremendous” support from Aveda’s multimillion-dollar program that helps salons and spas financially and with non-financial resources as they weather the headwinds caused by the outbreak. As part of its Aveda Cares program, the company is donating $600,000 to the Salon and Spa Relief Fund, a nonprofit, and encouraging customers and contributors to make donations to reach its $1.5 million goal.

“If we were so honored to get that grant, it would be a tremendous help,” she said.

The Aveda Cares program also offers weekly owners forums to train salon owners on how to revamp their business. Joseph’s has already begun participating in the trainings, which Campbell said is helping her navigate through the pandemic, including providing e-commerce solutions.

“Aveda has been a tremendous partner,” Campbell said. “I’m so grateful to have them on my side because I can trust their navigation through this.”

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The goal for the Aveda Cares program is to fully prepare salons and spas to successfully and confidently reopen, April Anslinger, Aveda’s senior vice president of North American operations, told FOX Business.

“[Salons] all closed to protect us, so we’re trying to take care of them,” she said. “My goal is to make sure they feel prepared to reopen and that they have the resources to quickly rebuild their business.”

The Aveda Cares program includes monetary contributions to Aveda’s loyalty program, an offer to salon partners to defer payments on outstanding balances, and product replenishment for salons. It has also increased salon commission to 40 percent from the beginning of April through the end of June via its “Salon A-Commerce” program and invested $2.6 million in free virtual education.

“My job with creating Aveda Cares is that I want to provide as much relief as possible, so the day that door opens, they can use this money to either pay their utilities, pay their leases,” Anslinger said.

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Aveda plans to begin providing businesses with reopening manuals, which Anslinger said brings business owners through “every angle of reopening." She added that funding through the Salon and Spa relief fund should be administered in mid-May.